If your website was made a few years ago, it’s likely that the business has grown since. This may mean that extra menu items and pages have been added as something new happens, such as a new branch of the business for example. Before you know it, your main navigation menu has expanded from a few user-friendly essentials to a cluttered, unmanageable mess.
This isn’t great for users. If they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’ll leave. They may also be overwhelmed by too much choice, as demonstrated by this study looking at how a simplified retail offering resulted in an enormous 600% increase in sales.
- Do an audit
This is a comprehensive list, usually a spreadsheet, that details and analyses every piece of content on your website. It’s best to use a guide or template to do this. You can also use tools to scan your website for broken links and evaluate SEO.
- Create a site map (offline can be useful for this)
Focus on how users will get from home or landing pages to the different types of information they’re looking for. Map out all the different routes that can take, and how they get back again. There’s a handy video for how to do this here. How can these journeys be shortened and simplified? How can you save users time?
- Look for overlapping categories and sections
If you have two main menu items that say the same thing, or overlap each other, then it could be a good idea to merge them. This reduces the clutter in the main menu and streamlines navigation.
- Remember that customers are used to a certain website structure
Nearly all websites use the same kinds of menus, structures and navigational routes. The reason for this is simple – users spend just seconds on a site, so if it’s even slightly confusing or difficult to find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave and find another site. Bear this in mind if considering a radical or statement-making redesign.
- Keep it as simple as possible
Your users will appreciate it, as this Google study showed – as simple, low visual complexity websites were found to be more appealing than more complicated ones. In fact, take Google as your example – as it is simultaneously one of the most successful and startlingly simple websites ever made.
- Strip back the non-essentials
Get rid of ads, pop-ups and other distractions unless you can actually demonstrate that they bring in revenue or conversions. Consider getting rid of other features such as sidebars if they aren’t used, and be careful with navigation trends such as sticky menus and overlays which can clutter up the main display.
- Test it! Last of all, test the life out of your new site as you continue to make improvements. Test it yourself but crucially, get different groups of users to test it too.
For more help with website design and user-friendly navigation, get in touch with the experts here at Ambos Digital.